Ultimate Bass

Morse wins BFL on Kissimmee River

Walmart Bass Fishing LeagueLAKE WALES, Fla. (May 4, 2009) – Tom Morse of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., won the Walmart Bass Fishing League® Gator Division tournament on the Kissimmee River Saturday with a four-bass catch weighing 19 pounds, 10 ounces…

LAKE WALES, Fla. (May 4, 2009) – Tom Morse of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., won the Walmart Bass Fishing League® Gator Division tournament on the Kissimmee River Saturday with a four-bass catch weighing 19 pounds, 10 ounces. The victory earned Morse $3,418 and placed him one step closer to qualifying for the Clarks Hill Lake Regional Championship in Appling, Ga., Oct. 15-17, where he could ultimately win a new Ranger boat and a Chevy truck.

“I have won some events outside of FLW Outdoors, but this win feels great,” said Morse, a four-year veteran of the BFL circuit. “It kind of reassures me that this is what I need to be doing.”

“The fishing on Toho has been sensational,” Morse added. “The water’s in the best shape I’ve ever seen it.”

Morse said he made the long run to Toho where he knew he had spots holding fish. Morse said his co-angler caught a 3 1/2-pounder early, and Morse started with a topwater bait, then changed to flipping a soft-plastic creature bait. Morse said he racked up weight fast when he caught a 7 1/2-pounder then moved a boat’s length and caught another 7 1/2-pounder.

“I didn’t think coming in a fish short of the limit would hurt me,” Morse said. “I felt pretty good about the four I had.”

Rounding out the top five boaters are Micah Silverman of Orlando, Fla. (five bass, 18-14, $1,709); Bill Fugate of Kissimmee, Fla. (five bass, 17-11, $1,138); Tommy Hatfield of Kissimmee, Fla. (five bass, 16-08, $741) and Rodney Marks of Tavares, Fla. (five bass, 16-08, $741).

Norman Soash of Land O’Lakes, Fla., took home the Boater Division Big Bass award, earning $420 for a 9-pound bass he caught on a Paca Craw.

Andrew Pulliam of Tampa, Fla., earned $1,709 as the co-angler winner Saturday thanks to five bass weighing 18 pounds, 2 ounces. Pulliam said he caught his bass fishing a lipless crankbait in open water.

Rounding out the top five co-anglers are Kenneth Hunnicutt of Jacksonville, Fla. (five bass, 17-0, $855); Edmundo Rodas of Altamonte Springs, Fla. (five bass, 14-3, $570); Patrick Mangold of Orlando, Fla. (five bass, 10-15, $399); and David Lepsic of Haines City, Fla. (five bass, 10-11, $342).

Hunnicutt earned $210 as the co-angler Big Bass winner with a 9-pound, 2-ounce bass.

The next Gator Division event, a two-day Super Tournament, will be held on the Kissimmee River in Lake Wales, Fla., Oct. 3-4.

The top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers in each of the BFL’s 28 divisions at the end of the season advance to a no-entry-fee Regional Championship where boaters fish for a new Ranger boat and a Chevy truck and co-anglers fish for a new Ranger boat. Seven regional championships will each send six boaters and six co-anglers to the no-entry-fee Walmart BFL All-American presented by Chevy, which features a $1 million purse and a top award of $140,000 in the Boater Division and $70,000 in the Co-angler Division. Anglers who compete in all five regular-season events within a division but do not advance to a Regional Championship are eligible to compete in the Chevy Wild Card, which will also send six boaters and six co-anglers to the All-American for a total of 48 boaters and 48 co-anglers advancing through BFL competition.

The winning boater and winning co-angler at the All-American will advance to the no-entry-fee $2.5 million Forrest Wood Cup in Atlanta in 2010. This event, featuring a top award of $1 million, is the most lucrative tournament in all of competitive bass fishing. In all, the BFL offers weekend anglers the opportunity to qualify for three no-entry-fee championships with total cash awards exceeding $3.5 million. Plus, the top 40 boaters and 40 co-anglers from each BFL division may move up to the Stren Series™ for 2010 while All-American champions have the option to advance directly to the Walmart FLW Tour®.

In BFL competition, boaters supply the boat and compete from the front deck against other boaters. Co-anglers compete from the back deck against other co-anglers.

As the nation’s leading provider of affordable, close-to-home weekend tournaments, the BFL is widely credited with opening competitive bass fishing to the masses. It also serves as a steppingstone for anglers who wish to advance to the Stren Series and ultimately the FLW Tour – bass fishing’s most lucrative tournament circuit.

Total awards are based on a full field of 200 boats in every tournament.

FLW Outdoors, named after Forrest L. Wood, the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. FLW Outdoors also is taking fishing mainstream with FLW Fantasy Fishing, offering the largest awards possible in the history of fantasy sports, $10 million in cash and prizes. Sign up for Player’s Advantage for only $10 to get your edge and win.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, visit FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000. For more information about FLW Fantasy Fishing and Player’s Advantage, visit FantasyFishing.com.

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